Philippine Drug Agency chair Undersecretary Arturo Cacdac Jr.
Philippine Drug Agency chair Undersecretary Arturo Cacdac Jr.

MANILA, Philippines- Frontline law enforcers from the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries recently visited the national headquarters of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to study the establishment and operation of airport interdiction task force system in the Philippines.

Bound together by the Mekong River basin, the GMS countries are composed of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and China.

“These countries have forged an alliance to strengthen cooperation and coordination against illegal drugs as envisioned in a 1993 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC),” said PDEA Director General Undersecretary Arturo G. Cacdac, Jr.

In a 2002 Addendum of Partnership to the existing MOU, the governments of the subregional countries have committed themselves to further strengthen drug control capabilities at national and subregional levels.

“Eighteen law enforcers, three from each GMS country, participated in the five-day study tour from September 22 to 26, 2013. Their visit included a stop at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Task Group (NAIA-IADITG) Operations Center at the NAIA Terminal 3, Pasay City,” Cacdac said.

The GMS countries considered the Philippines as an excellent subject area of study due to the country’s systematic, efficient and effective airport drug control measures, referred to as the NAIA-IADITG, an eight-member agency anti-drug task group led by the PDEA. “NAIA-IADITG is said to be one of the few airport interdiction task forces in the Southeast Asian region already in full swing,” Cacdac said.